December 17th

Hamas leader: Time on our side
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Sara Hussein - December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

Palestinians have time in their fight for a state, and a victory will come through nation-building rather than military confrontation with Israel, a senior Hamas leader said. "We are not in a hurry to buy or to sell our national interest because this is not the proper market," Mahmud Zahar told AFP during a wide-ranging interview conducted in the expansive living room of his Gaza City home. Zahar derided peace talks as a waste of time, heaping scorn on Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for engaging in negotiations, and ruled out recognition of Israel.

U.S. can't make Mideast leaders want peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) December 16, 2010 - 1:00am

The Obama administration needs to chill — and stop being so hard on itself when it comes to Arab-Israeli peace making. No sooner has one approach to the peace process failed than the administration gets busy launching another. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week outlined one more new approach to broker an Israeli-Palestinian framework agreement — by tackling borders and security first. And the tenacious Amb. George Mitchell is now in the region promoting it.

With Mideast peace talks adrift, the US searches for Plan B
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - December 16, 2010 - 1:00am

Soon after the US announced last week it would abandon an 18-month demand for an Israeli settlement freeze to advance peace talks with the Palestinians, state department spokesperson PJ Crowley insisted that the US would not start over with a blank slate. But after US envoy George Mitchell wrapped up a regional trip with little to show for it, the Obama administration's engagement with the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations appears rudderless. Palestinians say trust in the US mediation is running out.

Gaza Mends, but Israelis See Signs of Trouble
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - December 16, 2010 - 1:00am

The shops are full of Israeli food and clothes but most people here can barely afford them. Construction projects — sewage treatment plants, schools — are getting started but far fewer than needed. The border with Egypt, once sealed, is open but few people cross because security clearance is hard to get. And rockets and mortar shells fly daily from here into Israel, as Israeli troops carry out brief raids.

December 16th

Hamas turns away from its face of moderation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - (Analysis) December 16, 2010 - 1:00am

Ahmed Yousef, Palestinian intellectual, diplomat, and self-described public-relations extraordinaire, champions many causes. Bridging the chasm that divides Iran's Shiite theocracy from the Muslim world's majority Sunnis is one. Reconciling Islamist governance with democracy and human rights is another.

The PA cracks down on extremist preachers. The Arab League says new negotiations should be based on a “serious offer” on borders. Israel approves 24 new settlement housing units in occupied East Jerusalem. Norway upgrades the diplomatic status of the Palestinian mission. Palestinians seek diplomatic recognition in Europe. Bethlehem is preparing for a prosperous Christmas but its mayor complains about ongoing occupation. The PLO condemns a House resolution threatening a cutoff of aid if Palestinian statehood is unilaterally declared. Israeli towns continue efforts to keep Arabs out. Carlo Strenger says Palestinians should not repeat the mistake of 1947. Elie Podeh says Israel never wanted peace. Rachel Shabi critiques Israel's claims about Jews from Arab states. The IRS denies it is targeting pro-Israel groups. A fired AIPAC staffer says the group was aware of his activities. Martin van Creveld says the occupied territories are not crucial for Israel's security. Daniel Levy says it's time for a more detailed American peace plan. US may seek a framework agreement. More moderate voices in Hamas seem to be sidelined.

US focus on framework agreement in peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Vita Bekker - December 16, 2010 - 1:00am

George Mitchell, the US Middle East envoy, said yesterday that he hoped to make "real progress" in peace talks, even as media reports suggested that the Palestinians may be disappointed with Washington's efforts so far. Mr Mitchell met in Cairo with Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, on the third day of his visit to the region. "In the days ahead our discussions with both sides will be substantive, two-way conversations with an eye towards making real progress in the next few months on the key questions of an eventual framework agreement," he said.

Obstructing a Middle East Rescue Effort
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Daniel Levy - December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Special Middle East envoy George Mitchell is back in the region conducting his shuttle diplomacy, settlement construction continues apace and the much-anticipated speech of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton managed to avoid hard choices. It’s business as usual, so presumably we can all relax — Israel has dodged another peace bullet. No so fast. I would suggest that recent events should have sent the gevalt-o-meter into the red zone for anyone concerned about Israel’s future or shared American-Israeli interests.

Israel Doesn’t Need the West Bank To Be Secure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Martin van Creveld - (Opinion) December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

When everything is said and done, how important is the West Bank to Israel’s defense?

Rosen Fires Back in His Law Suit Against AIPAC
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

The American Public Affairs Committee has frequently condoned its employees’ receipt of classified information, according to documents filed in federal court by lawyers for Steve Rosen, a former senior official of the pro-Israel lobby. The new court filing, submitted December 15, offers Rosen’s response to claims by AIPAC that he acted improperly by obtaining classified information without the lobby’s knowledge while working on its behalf.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017